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A New Normal? Why Experts Are Calling Today’s Housing Market an ‘Ice Age'

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Market Data + Trends

A New Normal? Why Experts Are Calling Today’s Housing Market an ‘Ice Age'

The housing market is going through a deep freeze as elevated interest rates keep sellers on the sidelines and send available housing inventory to new lows


May 24, 2023
House on pile of ice next to stack of coins
Image: zhenya / stock.adobe.com

Timing is everything in today’s ever-changing housing market, but predicting the best time to buy or sell a home is as dependable as a coin toss, according to Insider. Those who purchased their homes before the mid-pandemic housing boom reaped the benefits of ultra-low mortgage rates and reasonably priced housing. Now, however, with mortgage rates hovering in the 6% to 7% range and home prices just below their peaks, buyers are getting cold feet. 

Today’s homeowners have little incentive to move, as doing so would mean refinancing at a much higher rate and contending with less affordable monthly payments. It’s a scenario some experts worry will become a “new normal” even after 2023.

The housing market has changed for good — and with the benefit of time-earned wisdom, we can pinpoint the moment it entered a new era. If July 2020 was the make-or-break moment for the market, we may now be seeing the crystallized "new normal": a fraught landscape defined by a scarcity of available homes, borrowing rates that have sharply rebounded from their historic lows, and homeowners who feel locked in by the deals they scored earlier in the pandemic. Call it the Housing Ice Age.

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